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haha, awesome, i have now been the topic of rumor and conjecture. the caretaker didn't find any tracks with his binocs because we didn't leave any, the snow was absolutely bullet proof. 
On Nov 11, 2007, at 9:41 PM, Mark P. Renson wrote:

With 13+ new during the week, I figured I'd go for a hike and perhaps do some snow geeking (not to be confused with The Snow Dork .... oh Gawd, let's not go there).  With winds from the South during and after the storm, I figured North facing aspects (duh) might have show some promise.
 
Whaddya' know, Dodges Drop was not looking too bad for Nov 11th: http://i199.photobucket.com/albums/aa301/markrenson/MW%20111107/IMG_0096.jpg  I've actually done the narrow diagonal gully on the left ....... in crampons and technical climbing gear.  I'm too much of a whose to ski that one - leave that to the Allen 'n Sam team.
 
Well, Sam took care of the left side, so here's the right side:  http://i199.photobucket.com/albums/aa301/markrenson/MW%20111107/IMG_0099.jpg  Ummm, I don't think that even Allen would try that one today.
 
I talked with the Hermit Lake Caretaker and he mentioned he heard rumours of a Left Gully descent.  He couldn't find tracks with his binoculars, though.
 
So, up to the Bowl I went in my crampons that have almost as many miles and trips to the Presidentials as my little Red Fartmobile:
http://i199.photobucket.com/albums/aa301/markrenson/MW%20111107/IMG_0104.jpg  On my way, I found tracks at the Connection Cache and we now know the culprits!
 
Hmmm, middle of the Bowl and not a significant danger from icefall might be a good place to dig a hole:
http://i199.photobucket.com/albums/aa301/markrenson/MW%20111107/IMG_0101.jpg
 
Whaddya' know, I found 60 cm of snow on a 30 degree slope with an NE aspect and inside, I found some layers:
http://i199.photobucket.com/albums/aa301/markrenson/MW%20111107/IMG_0102.jpg  I found a crust at 25cm with warm temps below it and a steep temperature gradient above it!  With some cold breezes with blowing snow, I discovered how difficult it is to manage paperwork. Trying to look at crystals was a pain in the arse, but it looks like it was all pulverized crystals for the most part.  Some results are as follows (Height of snowpack in cm, Hardness, snow temp in C):
60 - 1F - minus 7.1 
55 - 1F - minus 7.3
50 - 1F - minus 6.8
45 - 1F - minus 5.1
40 - 1F - minus 3.8
35 - 1F - minus 3.2
30 - 4F - minus 3.0
25 - K - minus 1.7
20 - 4F - minus 1.6
15 - 4F - minus .4
10 - 1F - minus .4
5 - 1F - minus .3
 
Some of those 1Fs were slightly harder than the others.  Foot penetration was 32 cm.
 
The Caretaker stopped by and oohed 'n ahhed at the little pit.  We tried some shovel shear tests, but could not get anything to fail - remarkable bonding to the ice crust:
http://i199.photobucket.com/albums/aa301/markrenson/MW%20111107/MVI_0107_1.jpg  Uh-oh, what will Jonathan's critique be!
 
Well, I tried the best I could to fill in the hole:
http://i199.photobucket.com/albums/aa301/markrenson/MW%20111107/MVI_0108_4.jpg
and then figured I'd hike up for a little elevation gain.  My original plan was to asecnd via the Tucks Trail, but 3 loud ice falls from the Sluice scared me off.  The Sam Expedition had made the right call by going early and avoiding that scene when the sun blasted the hanging ice - good work, gents.  Ascended to just a few feet below Lion's Head via the Summer Route before running outta' time, but not before snapping some nice eye candy:
http://i199.photobucket.com/albums/aa301/markrenson/MW%20111107/IMG_0113.jpg
http://i199.photobucket.com/albums/aa301/markrenson/MW%20111107/IMG_0114.jpg
 
Hermit Lake is frozen:
http://i199.photobucket.com/albums/aa301/markrenson/MW%20111107/IMG_0117.jpg
 
Not too many visitors to Hermit Lake today, but some did show up:
http://i199.photobucket.com/albums/aa301/markrenson/MW%20111107/MVI_0111_1.jpg
 
Some more eye candy on the way out:
http://i199.photobucket.com/albums/aa301/markrenson/MW%20111107/IMG_0119.jpg
 
Sure beat staying home and cursing at magazines.


Mark P. Renson
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